Maybe you have heard of it. Probably you or a relative you know has even been through it. Piece of cake? Yep…usually. There are plenty of surgeries, though, where things go awry as the eye is delicate and surgery can be unpredictable. Thing is most of the time it is smooth sailing. That is what patients want. That is what doctors want. Sometimes patients are saved from what they cannot imagine.
This week as my senior ophthalmology resident1 and I sat down to one of our cataract cases and pulled over the microscope a little warning bell rang in my head. Some of you might want to know what that warning bell was, but let’s just say it looked like the patient’s eye had been injured. The extra dilation the patient had for cataract surgery showed me a thing or two that was not evident in clinic. Doing cataract surgery on an eye that has been injured often goes well, but the word often is not the same as always, is it?
Usually when we are doing cataract surgery the case will run 10 to 20 minutes. This case ran closer to 90. There were pauses and thoughts, extra steps and hardware, on and on. At some points it would seem dismal and my mind would think things like, “Well, tomorrow I will send him off to a retina surgeon.” That’s what we do with certain complications. At other points optimism would raise its smiling head. Then pessimism would frown out in weariness. Then hope. As step by step was plodded through eventually it turned out with a Yay! Awesome! Whew! I had a dim hope somewhere it would come out like this, but to find the trials of surgery to wind up leading through the door of success is better than hope.
The docs and staff that were part of this victory all sort of got it, and then guess what? We take the drapes down, clean up the area around the eye, put some drops in, a patch on and send them to the recovery room.
All who are part of something like this have their own perspective. Some probably figure, “Man, they are lucky.” Others figure, “Whatever, some cases take longer.” I am in a different mode. I am thankful. Sometimes I pray during cases like this. When I look at the person who has just come through a thing like this it is a bit weird. I want them to know that the thing was successful. Somehow I want them to join with me and with us in happiness over what could have been so much different, but all I can really say are things like, “You did very well. It seemed like your eye may have been injured which made the surgery tricky, but all came out fine.”
That person should see happily ever after, but getting to their happily ever after was a thing they will never really understand. It was anti-climactic for them. Things could have been so much different. Instead, right now, they are out going about their activities, none-the-worse-for-wear nor privy to that hour and more I was in the throes of it.
What’s the point? We are saved from what we cannot imagine
God drew a parallel in my mind. On the cross Jesus struggled, but you know what? I bet I don’t know the half of it, or quarter of it, or thousandth or millionth of it. Not only am I naive to what he went through, but also I don’t know what badness I was rescued from. I get to be out living a life with hope and blessing, and it can seem rather anti-climactic. Thing is, Jesus went through what I cannot imagine in order that I don’t have to experience what I cannot imagine.
Maybe by drawing an analogy like this I can be a little more thankful. The surgery gave me pause. These God-thoughts give me pause.
In the New International Version of the Bible Psalm 50:15 says, “…call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” God was honored in the OR this week, and hopefully he will be honored by this little testimony.